2006's public contracts code, which transposes European public procurement legislation, contains a host of measures in support of small and medium-sized businesses.
Public contract procedures
There are two kinds of public procurement procedure:
- amended procedure contracts (MAPA) (competitive tendering and notice procedures determined by public purchasers instead of the public contracts code);
- formalised procedures (calls for tenders and other types of procedure)
Types of public contracts
In France, the different types of public procurement account for some 9% of GDP (€110 billion). The market's size therefore demands that it uphold principles such as:
- freedom of access to public contracts;
- equal treatment for applicants;
- control of the use of public finances.
There are three categories of public procurement:
- works contracts (building and civil engineering works);
- supply contracts (purchase of furnishings, materials or supplies, leasing, rental or hire-purchase of furnishings, materials or supplies);
- service contracts (tangibles/intangibles).
This type of contract mainly involves government agencies and public-sector bodies (ministries, museums, universities, hospitals, regional or departmental prefectures, etc.) and local authorities.
In the interests of transparency and security, public-sector buyers and bidders must fill in a variety of forms and may also opt to complete other non-compulsory forms.
The i2010 action plan aims to encourage businesses to submit electronic applications in order to manage their relations with the authority more efficiently and reduce administrative costs, deadlines, etc.
The portal of France's economy, industry and employment ministry offers an array of help to public-sector contract applicants. It also offers business owners a range of tools to help explain different aspects, e.g. summary tables, technical files, examples of case law.
The public procurement website provides a host of links to State calls for tenders.
The website of APCE (business creation agency) provides a list of official and specialised publications, local newspapers and public sector authority websites, in order to help firms locate and reply to public contract announcements.
The public contracts portal of France's official journal provides various tools for businesses, e.g. online forms, notices of announcements and awarded contracts.